NASA’s space camera shoots avalanche on Mars
NASA’s has published several images of avalanches that occurred in May on Mars. The images were shot by High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment Camera (HiRISE) that is mounted onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and is floating above the planet, taking images of the surface.
The photo is in collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL) and the University of Arizona, which operates the HiRISE camera instrument. The image was posted on September 3 by NASA but originally taken on May 29, 2019.
The occurrence of avalanches is a regular phenomenon on Mars during its spring when the temperatures are on the rise. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter team refers to this Mar’s spring as ‘Avalanche Season’. The images show dust kicking up as it hits the cliff bottom.
Dr. Candy Hansen from the University of Arizona explained, “Every spring the sun shines on the side of the stack of layers at the North Pole of Mars known as the north polar layered deposits. The warmth destabilizes the ice and breaks loose. The ice then plummets to the bottom of a 1,640ft-tall (500m) cliff, stirring up clouds of dust.”
He further said, “Those different colors and textures that can be seen in the photo depend on how much dust has mixed with the ice.”